NEW YORK -- Lacking outfield depth with Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil and Yoenis Cespedes on the injured list, the Mets on Thursday claimed veteran Aaron Altherr off waivers from the Giants. Because Altherr is out of Minor League options, the Mets must add him immediately to their 25-man
NEW YORK -- Lacking outfield depth with Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil and Yoenis Cespedes on the injured list, the Mets on Thursday claimed veteran Aaron Altherr off waivers from the Giants. Because Altherr is out of Minor League options, the Mets must add him immediately to their 25-man roster.
He was active for Friday’s series opener against the Tigers, after taking a red-eye flight from his home in Arizona, and he hit a go-ahead homer in his first plate appearance in the sixth before the Mets went on to fall, 9-8.
“I’ll do whatever I can, take advantage of whatever opportunity I can get,” Altherr said. “I’m just happy to be here, and hopefully I can get a shot and help this team win.”
A ninth-round pick of the Phillies in the 2009 MLB Draft, Altherr broke into the Majors five years later. Never a full-time player, he nevertheless appeared in 212 games from 2017-18, batting .236 with 27 home runs and a .765 OPS those seasons. The Phillies designated Altherr for assignment earlier this season and the Giants subsequently claimed him, but DFA’d him themselves a week later.
Altherr joins an outfield mix that currently consists of Juan Lagares, Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis -- the latter two veterans who signed Minor League deals this past offseason. The Mets also recently began using J.D. Davis in left field and have established plans to give Dominic Smith reps there, too.
“Defensively and offensively, I think I can contribute a lot,” Altherr said. “And I’m happy to help whatever way I can.”
The Mets do not have timetables on the returns of Conforto (concussion, although he could return this weekend), McNeil (left hamstring strain) or Nimmo (neck inflammation), potentially opening the door for Altherr to receive significant playing time in Flushing. Cespedes is out for the season with a fractured ankle.
Hurting Altherr’s chances of playing time is the fact that, like all of the Mets’ active outfielders, he is right-handed. But the Mets hope to find ways to work him into the mix.
“We understand what each of these guys can do,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “It’s pretty similar, so it’s not that easy. But we’ve got to see what each of our players can do and make the best decisions.”
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.